In this essay, I will be explaining generally about Aristotle’s virtue ethics. I will be explaining what Aristotle means by each part of the given quote and I will be providing brief examples. Moreover, I will be evaluating some Complications facing Aristotle’s account of virtue and I will be providing some advantages and disadvantages for Aristotle’s virtue ethics.
First of all, Aristotle describes moral virtue as a desire to behave properly and as a mean between the extremes of failure and excess, which are vices. Instead of justification and training, we learn moral virtue mainly through habit and practice. Unlike other moral philosophies, Aristotelian ethics puts great emphasis on the character of an individual.
Virtue, as indicated by Aristotle, is a readiness to act with a certain goal in mind however it’s anything but a ‘standard’ ability. Or maybe, it is a purposefully and sanely taught practice that is done to its greatest advantage. A legit individual, for instance, is one who has taught the propensity for trustworthiness since he esteems genuineness for the wellbeing of his own in light of the fact that trustworthiness is a greatness of the human spirit. The ‘cautious, mindful, and consistent’ segment is especially significant on the grounds that, for instance, a few people can intuitively be caring, however this isn’t a temperance since they don’t act normally yet act as per their sense. This is an issue for Aristotle since it is hard to do great conduct unreflectively. One may distinguish an activity as righteous in particular in the event that it is intentionally, reasonably, and willfully done as such.
As suggested by Aristotle, pleasure comprises of getting all the wellbeing, resources, information, companions, all through a lifetime that prompts the flawlessness of human instinct and the advancement of human presence. That permits us to decide, some of which can be exceptionally hard. The lesser great consistently offers prompt fulfillment, and is additionally engaging, for the benefit of all is troublesome, and requires a penance or the like. For example, going through the late evening staring at the TV can be simpler and increasingly fun, yet you realize you’ll be in an ideal situation on the off chance that you spent it reading for your research project. Building up a decent character requires a solid will responsibility to make the best decision, even in extreme conditions.
One example is drug use, which is becoming increasingly a problem in our culture today. For a relatively small price, by popping an oxycontin pill or snoring some cocaine one can quickly take one’s mind off one’s problems and feel intense euphoria. Yet this short-term happiness will eventually lead to longer-term pain. A few hours later you may feel depressed and therefore need to take this drug again, which leads to an endless cycle of need and relief. Addiction ultimately drains your finances and puts your friends and family at a disadvantage. All those virtues; kindness, temperance, loyalty, bravery, etc. that make up the good life appear to be conspicuously lacking in a drug-use-life.
For the next part, I have divided the quote given into different parts so I can be able to explain each. The first part of the quote given is “Virtue is a state”, what Aristotle means about the first part is that it is not a thought, since it does not decide goodness or badness, and not a tendency that is only geared towards the future and does not need to be exercised, but it’s a habit. Notice that because emotions are so important to Aristotle, we seem to have to conclude that the habit must be one not only of acting but also of feeling.
The next part of the given quote is “connected with choice”. What Aristotle is trying to say is the What lies behind each move is the conclusion of realistic deliberation as well. Is this consistent with the practice of habit? Typically, habit requires a lack of deliberation- act ‘automatically’ when we act habitually.
The upcoming part I will be explaining is “lying in a mean relative to us”. What he is trying to explain is that in a particular situation, the mean is the correct answer. The mean is not moderation or just a little of anything. The concept is intended to describe how the right answer is neither an underreaction nor an overreaction. These correspond to the two deficiency and excess vices that go with each virtue. Not to be viewed as a condition for good conduct; Aristotle merely states what good action consists of.
The next part is ‘a mean being determined by reason”, he means that more specifically the mean is calculated by practical wisdom. Note that this does not equate to applying the rules but is a matter of deciding what to do in specific cases and the reasons for one’s choice may be provided.
The last part that I will be explaining is “in the way in which the man of practical wisdom would determine it”, What he is trying to explain to us is that it is the only standard on which customs count as virtuous. It seems absolutely circular because we have an individual fix on the ‘man of practical experience’. Note, Aristotle won’t give us specific rules of conduct here, where virtue falls into sin, and so forth. Aristotle still directs us to a list of virtues and the following vices.
Some of the criticism of Aristotle’s Virtue of ethics is as follow. For Aristotle, being good meant avoiding these extremes by taking the course between two vices: not applying a virtue adequately and applying it overly. He named this the ‘mean’ of a value to be sought. Courage, for instance, is the mean between leniency and recklessness. Between fickleness and blind obedience, loyalty is the norm. Resolution is the standard of obstinacy and spinelessness. As our society has become more complex, specialized and bureaucratic, the ability to practice practical wisdom has been increasingly replaced by reliance on laws, regulations, and incentives for achieving our objectives. Adhering to unbending laws reduces the value of meaning when making our decisions. Rather than taking into consideration all the circumstances of a particular situation, you are following as the law says, the consequences will be damned. Take, for example, the zero-tolerance in some schools for weapons programs that have expelled kindergarteners for unintentionally carrying a pocketknife in their backpack. They are forced into a certain course of action instead of the principals having the leeway to decide the correct punishment. Incentives can also drain common wisdom, because at the wrong time and for the wrong reason they may trigger people to do the wrong thing. Take our healthcare program.
Aristotle would suggest that a doctor’s telos was intended to keep the patient well and that a doctor should use practical experience to assess the right amount of medication or surgery to accomplish that goal. But instead of a flat fee is charged, some physicians are paid extra for suggesting extra costly treatments, whether the patient actually wants them or not. And on the other hand, some doctors are being compensated by HMO for coming into their care under budget. And the way our healthcare system is set up allows physicians to have either too much or too little treatment, rather than being praised for finding the right, and simply doing the patient’s best thing.
For every theory out there, there should be some advantages and disadvantages. One disadvantage is that his theory relies on experience. It is inaccurate since experience varies from person to person (we can not be sure that every person’s chairs look the same). Another disadvantage is that Maybe things don’t exist for a reason, some things happen by chance. For example, Bertrand Russell said, ‘The universe is just here, and that’s all’.
One advantage is that the philosophy of Aristotle can be defended since it consists, valid, of his natural world studies, to be more specific, anything Aristotle have proposed can be supported because its mainly from his knowledge of the natural world. Next, it’s Powerful in contrast with Plato’s forms which in the physical world are not measurable. Another is that the four causes can be extended as an explanation of events that happen inside the universe. And last but not least, there are no facts that refute the claim in such a way that not much opposition, for example. Big bang or God. To summarize, While Virtue Ethics aims to make the individual a better person and to instill virtuous qualities in him/her, it does not really help when facing an ethical dilemma, as there are no instructions on what to do as implied by Normative Ethics. Arguably, moral reasoning may be what is meant to help solve ethical problems, but what if one’s reasoning is faulty or immoral? So, I believe the disadvantages outweigh the advantages.
To conclude, given all the previous examples, I believe that everything has a positive and a negative side, its strength, and weaknesses, what matters is how confident you are about your theory. Aristotle has multiple times, shown us how confident he is about what he is proposing, anyone in his place will do the same thing, support his theory even though criticism were coming from all directions. As I said previously, I think that the disadvantages outweigh the advantages. One of the many reasons, most of the people think the way I think is that Aristotle Virtue ethics have been and always been vague and general to be useful, which made many people at some point start to distrust his theory. All in all, he had an Idea and he proposed it to the world and it’s up to every individual with his own wish and will to apply it or leave it.